What We Think We Think

Source: Postmodernism – Wikipedia,

The essay I linked to above goes into what the author understands about postmodernism to some detail, but as I understand it what it comes down to is, we can’t really understand it.

Not in its entirety. Not to any totality. For we are a limited animal that really can’t handle all that much stuff, not to any real great degree. And to make matters even worse, we can’t really understand what others understand. Not really, for our ability to communicate is flawed and there is really no way for us to truly inform each other. Your Christianity is not my Christianity, for what you learned, what you know, what you understand cannot be what I know, learned, or understand. You get right down to it your version of Christianity can have but one member, and that is you. Unless, that is, there is an omniscient God, in which case He would constitute the second member of your religion is so much as he can understand how you understand.

As I understand it, postmodernism says that we can’t really know. Not completely. Our understanding, our knowledge is provisional, and depends a great deal on what we can know and on how we can know it. That said, it is possible to take things too far, for there are those who say that we can not know anything, and that what we think we know is wrong. If that’s your case, I don’t think it means what you think it means.

Our knowledge is imperfect. So far as that is true we are wrong. But what we know and how we know it can be tested. It can be verified. Years ago I read the account of a naturalist who did a study of a mated pair of ravens in New England. After one year of study he had came to certain conclusions about them and thought his work was done. But then he continued the study for another year. After the second year of study he came to another conclusion, that his first conclusion was wrong. You get right down to it, the most important word in a scientist’s vocabulary is, “Oops.” This naturalist found himself saying “oops”, for he had been in error. And the lesson I learned is that you can never conclude a study, for as long as you do a study you will learn where, when, and just how you are wrong. As somebody once observed about subjects in a biology experiment, once set up and running the organism will do what it damn well feels like. You get right down to it, regardless of the field of science everything is probabilistic and nothing can ever truly be deterministic. You want simplicity you’ve got to dig deep.

That is how I understand matters and it should give you some idea of where I’m coming from when I write about matters. I can’t rea lly know how I know things, and I rather doubt anybody can. At the best I can do no better than to let you know what I’m thinking, and to give you some idea of how I came to that conclusion. Though I must ask that you remember that there will be times when I will find myself saying “oops” and correcting my errors when I become aware of them. Then correcting my corrections when I learn that they are wrong. For we are a flawed animal and perfection can never be a part of us.1 The First

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